Executive Stories

Executives Spotlight stories appeared on this website starting in 2001. Some of the executive's professional experience may have changed since they were published.

Executive Spotlight - February 9, 2009

Mark Gorris

Former Pres. Royals Sports Television Network, LLC & Sr. VP, Business Operations, KC Royals

We've all heard this before, "All men are created equal."Mark GorrisWhy then do some become leaders? Does the word "leader" conjure up descriptive phrases like, "leading after the first quarter...", "the leader in the clubhouse at the moment is...", "the leader going into the bell lap is...", "going into the locker room at the half, the leader is?." Always out front. Is being a leader someone who has to be the front-runner?

By the end of 2006 and into 2007, Mark Gorris was completing his 6th and what would be his final year supporting the team's young leader, Dan Glass, and helping him better guide the business operations of the Kansas City Royals. Mark is not the first to serve in this kind of "leadership" role nor will he be the last. Kevin Uhlich, a highly experienced front office expert in major league baseball, in fact followed Mark. While President of the Columbus Crew, Jamey Rootes, now President of the Houston Texans, honed his team general management skills under the tutelage of John Borozzi, a seasoned veteran of running indoor MISL teams. Andy Dolich, former President of Business Operations of the Memphis Grizzlies, is passing along his knowledge of running a professional sports franchise's business operations to Jed York, the new San Francisco 49ers President.

Jedi fans, "Don't these men..er...men-tors... kind of remind you of Yoda?"

The Kansas City Royals from Mark's arrival in 2001 went through some "galactic" renovations from improving the communication between departments, launching popular marketing campaigns and broadcast initiatives which, in turn, created a regional marketing focus that produced greater revenues, plus winning a game changing public vote on the ultimate in renovation ? a physical transformation of the baseball stadium.

Prior to joining the Royals, Mark served in an all-encompassing mentor type role at MLB's Commissioner's Office in New York as Senior Vice President, Club Relations for four years. After leaving that job and joining the Royals, Mark and I connected as I sought his guidance in helping me to help the teams to launch TeamWork Online's employment recruiting system into Major League Baseball Clubs. Mark provided me the path to convince many of the clubs to join in. "The Force was with me."

Yoda would say, "Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice."

I can imagine Mark has a few pieces of wisdom he's learned and hopes to pass along to his next Jedi leader-in-training. Could it sound something like this:

  • Oozing talent within a sports franchise is. The key is to be searching for and nurturing the staff at all levels (the budding future stars are there and want to be challenged). Mark has always been grateful that one of his mentors, Mark Sauer, a former A-B and multiple sports executive, found and nurtured him.
  • Integrity and credibility essential are, absent the soul without is.
  • Substitute there is not for communicating personally. It took Mark many years to learn that while one always wants to be close to the boss, as he or she always has a relevant opinion, the front line, often lowest paid folks, know your customers the best, so their opinions are equally, if not more, relevant.
  • Fluid and inclusive one must stay; a good vision leadership with starts.
  • Measuring money success is not; quality and quantity of relationships with family, friends and business associates success shall be.

Many of us are or have been apprentices. As we age, we should all strive to become the master.

- Buffy Filippell

"Mark is the epitome of someone who is always thinking about the organization first before himself; he has great leadership and teamwork skills and gets everyone involved in the process of the organization."

--Allard Baird Former Vice President/General Manager, Kansas City Royals, now Assistant to General Manager, Boston Red Sox

What I do...

Mark was responsible for developing a regional television network that ultimately handsomely leveraged the team's future with Fox and oversaw all of the business operations which included strategic planning, marketing, sales, finance, stadium operations and public relations, community relations, and customer service.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS; Kansas City, MO; 2001-2007
President, Royals Sports Television Network, LLC
& Senior Vice President, Business Operations

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL; New York, NY and St. Louis, MO; 1997-2001
Senior Vice President, Club Relations (1999-2001)
Vice President of Team Services (1997-1999)

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS; St. Louis, MO; 1987-1996
Vice President Business Operations (1990-1996)
Vice President, Finance & Administration (1987-1990)
Director, Business Administration (1987)

Manager of Planning (1985-1986)
Assistant to the President (1985)

TeamWork Innovators

Daryl Morey, General Manager, Houston Rockets

Daryl Morey brought some amazing talents to the sports industry. Upon graduating from Northwestern where he worked part-time while in school for Stats, Inc., before entering graduate school at MIT Daryl was hired as a Senior Knowledge Management Engineer and helped Mitre develop a computer program for NSA which could scan all the international videos and bring up clips of specific items - such as "Hussein" - and show just those clips across all international broadcasts. This technology was later developed for commercial use and marketed under the company, Virage. Mr. Morey wrote the code and algorithm. He could convert speech to text and frames and mark when a story started and ended on the video. Is it a surprise he has become the thought leader in advancing database analytics, algorithms and technology in the sports industry?

Learn more

Others Say

ÔMorey is the whiz-kid stats analyst who made news last month when he was hired from the Celtics, where he worked on the business side, to take over as (GM) Dawson's eventual replacement. With his background as a Bill James disciple, Morey's hiring was hailed as the NBA's first venture into "Moneyball."Õ

- Marty Burns, Sports Illustrated